Category Archives:
Middle East

Woman and child killed in Iraq as US adopts Israeli ‘knocker’ bombs and leaflet drops

Allison Deger on
A burned Humvee and artillery are seen at the peshmerga base in Makhmour, after it was freed from control of Islamic State, south of Mosul, April 17, 2016. (Photo: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

American forces have adopted Israeli military tactics employed in Gaza of dropping cautionary leaflets and knocker bombs intended to warn civilians of incoming attacks. The method was used outside of Mosul in a recent operation, yet a woman and a child were killed upon re-entering a building shortly after it was targeted by a hellfire missile. The deaths were disclosed by a Department of Defense official in a briefing yesterday on expanding U.S. forces in Iraq as it battles fighters with the Islamic State.

American University of Beirut students protest in support of Steven Salaita as school president intervenes to cancel hiring process

Students for Salaita on
#StudentsforSalaita logo

Students at the American University of Beirut have been organizing on campus since AUB President Fadlo Khuri canceled the hiring of Professor Steven Salaita based on accusations of ‘procedural irregularities’ during the hiring process. As a #StudentsforSalaita press release explained, “Students are concerned this controversy follows Salaita’s persecution at UIUC, as well as the changing perspectives within the administration on the legitimacy of pro-Palestinian scholars.”

‘Say Hello to Zenobia’: A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes

Jeff Klein on
A photo of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014, in front of the remains of the historic temple. The monument was destroyed by Islamic State jihadists in October 2015. This photo was taken by Joseph Eid for AFP, all other photos for this story are by the author or other members of the delegation.

Jeff Klein reports on the horrific devastation left in the wake of the ISIS occupation of the world-famous ancient city of Palmyra and the neighboring Syrian town of Tadmor. He traveled there with a delegation that was the very first group of international civilians to view the site in the aftermath of the battle that took place there.

Israeli forces have killed over 5,500 Palestinians in the last 15 years and not one soldier has been prosecuted for murder

Allison Deger on
Israeli Defense Forces on patrol. (Photo: IDF)

Israeli soldiers are almost never prosecuted for killings in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said yesterday. Over the past 15 years no Israeli officers were indicted for murder, and only one soldier was convicted of homicide in the case of the killing of a foreign national. During this time Israeli forces killed more than 5,500 Palestinians and ten foreign nationals in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Zionism is not really secular

Jonathan Ofir on
David Ben-Gurion

Zionism took the myth of the ‘Jewish nation’ from Jewish religious culture. It extrapolated the nationalist stream inherent in Judaism, and made it into an ostensibly ‘secular’ national movement. But the nationalist element depends upon the religious ‘counterpart’ to exist.

Where?

Fidaa Abuassi on
Art: Al Nakba by Ismail Shammout

“Why my existence they so fear/they wish I leave and disappear?” A poem by Gaza writer Fidaa Abuassi on the dislocation of exile and colonization

Reflections on the Brussels attack

Richard Falk on
Soldiers stand guard in front of the central train station in Brussels. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Richard Falk writes that the Brussels attack for which ISIS claimed responsibility exhibits the new face of 21st century warfare for which there are no front lines, no path to military victory, and acute civilian vulnerability. As such, it represents a radical challenge to our traditional understanding of warfare, and unless responses are shaped by these realities, it could drive Western democracies step by step into an enthused political embrace and revived actuality of fascist politics.

Israeli soldier filmed killing wounded Palestinian finds support among Israeli politicians

Allison Deger on
Naftali Bennett at an Israel Project event in Jerusalem. (The Israel Project/Flickr)

As a video recording of an Israeli soldier killing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday emerged hours after the shooting Israeli government officials and civil society representatives were split in their responses. Some quickly moved to condemn the shooting, while an outspoken group of Israeli leaders applauded the soldier and circulated a counter-theory of self-defense and heroism.

Israelis don’t exist

Jonathan Ofir on
Israeli biometric i.d.

Israel tells the world that its citizens have Israeli nationality, but on internal documents it insists that Jews have Jewish nationality. Because it is the Jewish state, and thereby justifies discrimination against non-Jewish nationals who are citizens of Israel.

On World Poetry Day, Gaza activists honor detained poet Ashraf Fayadh

Haidar Eid on
Ashraf Fayadh

On the occasion of World Poetry Day, Gaza-based human rights activists released an amateur video in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been detained in a Saudi prison since January 1, 2014. In the video Palestinian activist Haidar Eid performs “Thirsty for Freedom,” adapted from a poem by the late legendary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm.

Zionism’s long and rich history of delegitimizing Palestinians

Thomas S. Harrington on
British Zionist Israel Zangwill who coined the phrase, "Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country" (Photo: Wikimedia)

Israel supporters condemn the “delegitimizing” efforts of the BDS movement, but it is not as if delegitmization is a new tactic to Zionism. Indeed, a strong case could be made that it has been perhaps the single most ubiquitous and effective tool of the movement in the US and elsewhere over much of the last century.

What brought you to be critical of Israel?

Jonathan Ofir on
Jonathan Ofir

Jonathan Ofir explains how he, an Israeli expatriate in Europe, came to be so critical of his country. “I came to realise that ‘fighting for my country’ meant something very different than winning ideological and physical battles for the State of Israel. It meant dismantling Zionist propaganda.”

Understanding the fundamental roots of conflict and suffering: An interview with Rich Forer

Katie Miranda on
Rich Forer

Rich Forer is a former member of AIPAC who has orthodox relatives living in West Bank settlements, yet today he is a strong advocate for Palestinian rights. Forer is the author of the book ‘Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict’ and Katie Miranda interviews him about how the concept of the “psycho-spiritual roots of conflict” helps explain why some Israel supporters think and behave the way they do. Miranda says, “We can take the easy route and brush them off as crazy and racist. It’s much harder to look at the roots and even to identify similar qualities in ourselves.”

Austrian Parliament cancels International Women’s Day event following attacks on Hedy Epstein

Annie Robbins on
Hedy Epstein:  "In the background you see the courtroom in which the doctors were tried & see some of the defendants sitting in the dock.  Above that is a photo of the freezing experiment.  A person is lying in a large vat of freezing cold ice water.  Two doctors, one of them Dr. Rascher, are observing. Many people died as a result of this experiment."  --Nuremberg Palace of Justice (Photo: Newsweek)

Today, International Women’s Day, the Austrian Parliament was scheduled to hold an event called In Grandmothers’ Words. This event would have joined eight female WWII witnesses from around the world in Vienna in an unprecedented opportunity for the public to hear their experiences regarding specific topics, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Uprising in Warsaw, and the Blitz in London. However, fueled by a biased article about Hedy Epstein, who was scheduled to appear, the event was cancelled. A protest emerged in an open letter originating from the Austrian public and with strong international support: over 180 signatures from 19 countries, including almost 50 Austrians and eminent figures.

2017 is a crucial year for the Palestine Question

Helena Cobban on
Chaim Weizmann

2017 is a historic year in the history of Palestine, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, 70th of the UN Partition resolution and 30th of the First Intifada. It will cement the new understanding of Zionism as a settler-colonialist project, underwritten by the west.